The Beast is here: ICBR launches the NovaSeq6000 DNA Sequencer
The UF Interdisciplinary Center for Biotechnology Research’s (ICBR) Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) Core provides leading edge instrumentation and technical expertise required to support campus-wide research activities.
Established in 1987, the ICBR NGS Core has contributed to significant scientific discoveries on campus. For example, the first fire ant genome was sequenced on ICBR instruments as well as the genome for the bacterium that causes “citrus huanglongbing,” or citrus greening disease, the most destructive disease of citrus trees worldwide. And genomes from plants sent into space to study the effects of microgravity on plant biology have been decoded on ICBR sequencers.
Using the expertise of ICBR NGS staff, researchers in the UF Health Cancer Center have used DNA sequencing to probe genomic abnormalities and mutations that lead to cancer and have characterized the relationship between our gut microbiome and the risk of developing colorectal cancer.
DNA sequencing has evolved remarkably from the early days of single DNA molecule sequencing, from using radioactive tracers and large polyacrylamide gels to sequencing millions of DNA fragments simultaneously in parallel on a flat glass “flow cell.” To put things in perspective, the Human Genome Project, an international consortium of researchers whose goal was to sequence one human genome, began on Oct. 1, 1990, and completed in April 2003 at a cost of almost $3 billion. With today’s modern sequencing technologies, the ICBR can sequence several human genomes in two days for a few thousand dollars
Consistent with the ICBR mission of providing cost-effective sequencing services to the UF campus, the ICBR has recently acquired the latest version of NGS technology. The NovaSeq6000 from Illumina, Inc., the “Beast” of modern-day sequencers, is now fully operational in the ICBR NGS Core.
This instrument has impressive capacity in terms of the amount of high-quality sequencing data generated over a short period of time, and in fact, can fully sequence 48 human genomes in 48 hours. More importantly, the reduction in reagent and supply costs to run the Beast translates into very significant cost savings for the NGS of up to 75%, a benefit directly passed down to the UF community in the form of reduced sequencing service fees.
“We’re all excited about adding the NovaSeq6000 instrument to the ICBR toolbox,” said Anna-Lisa Paul, Ph.D., interim director of ICBR. “This technology, combined with the expertise of Dr. David Moraga and his NGS team, will enable ICBR to provide unparalleled genome sequence services to UF researchers. We are accustomed to ICBR delivering world-class, high quality sequencing, but the NovaSeq6000 takes it to an unprecedented level in terms of capacity and a highly competitive price point.”
The acquisition of the instrument was a true UF collaborative effort, as the purchase was made possible through joint funding support of the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, UF Health Cancer Center and the Office of Research, she said.
“As always, we look forward to being an integral part of new exciting discoveries in multiple disciplines across our campus, and now we have the tools to help explore even further,” Paul said.
The UF Health Cancer Center is excited to partner with the ICBR in the acquisition and use of this new machine, said Jonathan Licht, M.D., director of the Cancer Center.
“The field of cancer research is highly dependent on obtaining genome-wide sequences to study the nature of gene mutation, gene expression, gene structure and gene function in cancer,” Licht said. “The amount of data that can be produced by this machine was simply unimaginable 20 years ago.”
If you would like to see the Beast or are interested in learning more about NGS, please contact Steven Madore, Ph.D., UF Health Cancer Center associate director for shared resources, at firstname.lastname@example.org.